West News Wire: Lamont Dozier, the middle name of the renowned Holland-Dozier-Holland trio that penned and produced “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Heat Wave,” and scores of other singles and contributed to the success of Motown as a vital record label in the 1960s and beyond, passed away at the age of 81.
According to a statement released by his family, Dozier passed away “peacefully” on Monday at his home close to Scottsdale, Arizona. The reason of death wasn’t discovered right away. Dozier was described as a “wonderful, creative guy” with an innate understanding of what songs would work best for a specific group by Duke Fakir, a close friend and the final surviving member of the original Four Tops.
He described Holland-Dozier-Holland as “tailors of music” in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “They could take any artist, call them into their office, talk to them, listen to them and write them a top 10 song.”
In Motown’s historic, self-defined rise to the “Sound of Young America,” Holland-Dozier-Holland stood out even compared to such gifted peers as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Barrett Strong. Over a four-year period, 1963-67, Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland crafted more than 25 top 10 songs and mastered the blend of pop and rhythm and blues that allowed the Detroit label, and founder Berry Gordy, to defy boundaries between Black and white music and rival the Beatles on the airwaves.
For the Four Tops, they wrote “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” for Martha and the Vandellas they wrote “Heat Wave” and “Jimmy Mack,” for Marvin Gaye “Baby Don’t You Do It” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” The music lived on through countless soundtracks, samplings and radio airings, in cover versions by the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and many others and in generations of songwriters and musicians influenced by the Motown sound.